|The "Modern" Gas Kilns of Old|
The following paragraphs were written to advertize the improved features of the gas kiln over those of the charcoal heated kilns. This may be of interest to we who now enjoy the ease of our electric kilns:
With the use of gas as fuel, the question of the application of heat is under the most perfect control. Every portion of the kiln can be heated to the exact degree desired, and then cooled as gradually, or immediately, as the case demands. The result is an almost total absence of breakage. In the old system of amateur kilns, charcoal was used. The heat was sudden and very "sharp"; the draught was often irregular, overheating one side and leaving the opposite side too cool; when the firing was completed, the coals were "drawn" (that is all taken away bodily), leaving the red-hot surface of the kiln exposed to the direct action of the air in the entire fire-space. This produced a very hasty contraction of the white-hot surfaces, and often cracking and breakage were the result.
The charcoal was very dirty to handle, and the fumes, as everyone knows, terribly unhealthy and poisonous. While burning, the fire had to be constantly watched and stoked. The drawing of the fire demanded the assistance of a man, which did not always happen to be convenient.
The heat from a bushel or more of live coals is intense, and the loose drapery of a woman's skirts made it extremely dangerous. After having seen one woman burned to death from her dress catching fire, I may perhaps be excused for having an exaggerated horror of such danger; but certainly no one can be advised to risk it when there is an entire lack of necessity.
In using gas-kilns, the hard work is over when the stacking is done. The kiln should then be closed and the "peeper" left open, and the burner lighted at about half pressure should be allowed to burn in this manner until quite red. The will allow all steam to escape. You will be astonished at the amount of steam which will arise from your ware, which you thought perhaps, perfectly free from all trace of moisture.